Michigan – Upper Peninsula

In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the trail changes from a pathway through rural landscapes of rolling farmlands to a wilderness track.

Canyon Falls

Canyon Falls, by Kenny Wawsczyk

The U.P.’s prime scenery includes large lakes, old growth forests, rugged hills and the Lake Superior shoreline, all set amid some of the most remote, uninhabited country found on the North Country Trail.

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Important Michigan Notes: When visiting Michigan State Parks, Rereation Areas, Forests, or State Game Areas you will need a Recreation Passport available available here. For camping reservations within Michigan State Parks visit here.

Dispersed camping can take place on state-owned land other than state parks, recreation areas, or state forest campgrounds. View the dispersed camping rules and get a Camp Registration Card here (also available at a local DNR office).

Eastern Upper Peninsula

Tahquamenon Falls

Tahquamenon Falls

Mackinac Bridge to the Luce/Alger County border just east of Grand Marais

Mileage: 167 miles (139 off-road,/28 on-road)

Rating: Moderate

Need to Know: Remote stretches of trail with limited restocking opportunities nearby. Dispersed camping allowed in Hiawatha National Forest and Lake Superior State Forest, follow rules and regulations. Designated camping only within Tahquamenon Falls State Park. If planning a longer hike that requires you to cross the Mackinac Bridge, keep it mind it can only be walked on Labor Day. At all other times, you may contact the Mackinac Bridge Authority for a ride across.

The Trail: Runs through the Hiawatha National Forest and the Lake Superior State Forest, crossing the Little Two Hearted River three times before reaching the banks of the world’s largest freshwater lake, Lake Superior.

Notable Locations: 

Get Involved! Trail Maintaining Chapters: Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Chapter and Superior Shoreline Chapter of the North Country Trail Association

Trail Towns: St. Ignace

Maps for this section:

Central Upper Peninsula

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks, photo by Aaron Sorrels

Luce/Alger County line east of Grand Marais to the Marquette/Baraga County Line on the Eastern border of Craig Lake State Park

Mileage: 188 miles (149 off-road/39 on-road)

Rating: Moderate

Need to Know: Multiple governmental, commercial, and privately managed properties, know and respect all rules and regulations by contacting the appropriate land manager. Please note that backcountry camping permits are required in Pictured Rocks and can only be purchased online at recreation.gov. Find more information here.

The Trail: Passes through large parcels of private and true Wilderness, including the 43-mile Lakeshore Trail through Pictured Rocks, one of the greatest hits of the entire North Country Trail.  

Notable Locations:

Get Involved! Trail Maintaining Chapters: Superior Shoreline Chapter and North Country Trail Hikers Chapter of the North Country Trail Association

Trail Towns: Grand MaraisMarquette

Maps for this section:

Western Upper Peninsula

Hiker on Porcupine Mountains

Porcupine Mountains photo by Dominic Davis

Marquette/Baraga County Line on the Eastern border of Craig Lake State Park to the MI/WI border

Mileage: 192 miles (147 off-road,/45 on-road)

Rating: Difficult

Need to Know: Very remote long stretches of trail within the Ottawa National Forest. Navigation and terrain can be challenging. Limited restocking opportunities nearby, plan accordingly. Please note that backcountry camping permits are required within the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. In person check-ins can be completed at designated check stations, self registration is no long available. Find more information here.

The Trail: A secluded area passing by waterfalls, lakes, rivers and streams. Although the Trail technically doesn’t travel though any Wilderness often times the rugged terrain and beautiful views will feel like wilderness.

Notable Locations: 

Get Involved! Trail Maintaining Chapters: North Country Trail Hikers ChapterPeter Wolfe Chapter and Ni-Miikanaake Chapter of the North Country Trail Association

Maps for this section:

Upper Michigan Calendar

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